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Platte County flu vaccine supply is reduced by 90%

Only 400 doses will be divided between the two Platte County Health Department locations

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

A shortage of the flu vaccine across the United States will also make a dramatic impact on Platte County.

According to Susan Hoskins, emergency response planner/public information officer for the Platte County Health Department, the number of vaccines available for county residents will be cut by 90%.

Hoskins stated the health department in 2003 vaccinated 4,000 residents in Platte County with the flu vaccine. This year, the health department will have 400 doses to be divided between the Platte City and Riverside locations.

“We’re only going to have 10% of last year’s vaccine. We were told by our distribution representative not to expect any further shipments during this flu season,” said Hoskins.

The Platte County Health Department was notified on Oct. 5, when Chiron, who usually supplies 50 million flu vaccines for the U.S., unexpectedly announced it wouldn’t be supplying Fluvirin influenza virus vaccine for the 2004-2005 flu season.

The announcement came after Chiron had its license suspended by the British government for three months.

With 100 million flu vaccines normally produced by Chiron and Aventis Pasteur in a year for the United States, the shortage now leaves the vaccination of Americans in one company’s hands.

“With Chiron shut down, we’ve effectively been cut back by half,” said Hoskins. “You can’t just make more (flu vaccine) because it takes months to make more.”

With Chiron’s announcement, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) set guidelines across the nation about who should receive priority in receiving the flu shot.

The CDC announced that the flu vaccine will only be able to be given to adults 65 and over, children ages 6-23 months, persons age 2-64 years with a chronic underlying condition, and all women pregnant during flu season.



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